Will Smith’s Biggest Franchise Canceled After Chris Rock Slap?

Is a massive Will Smith franchise getting canceled because the actor slapped Chris Rock at the Academy Awards on Sunday.

By Doug Norrie | Published

This article is more than 2 years old

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If you thought you had heard the last about the Academy Award night slap delivered from Will Smith to Chris Rock, then think again. This is likely a story that will hang around the industry and the ether for years to come and could end up becoming one of the defining moments (unfortunately) from the iconic ceremony. In the wake of Will Smith officially resigning from the Academy, there could be other problems at hand for the actor, especially regarding future productions. There’s a chance that some of them, including one of his biggest franchises is paused for the time being, or maybe even permanently. 

According to The Hollywood Reporter’s Heat Vision, there is some talk that the planned Bad Boys 4 has been paused right now while things shake out with Will Smith and this situation. The original plan had been to start production on the fourth movie in the popular franchise but that’s being scrapped, at least in the short term. There hadn’t been any reported timelines for this next Bad Boys movie, but it was reported a couple of years ago, following the third installment, that another movie was going to be in the works with Chris Bremner handling the script. According to THR, about 40 pages of that had been written at the time of the studio hitting pause. 

It will be interesting to see what happens with Will Smith and the Bad Boys franchise in the wake of the Academy Awards incident. Bad Boys for Life was released back in January of 2020 and was a box office smash, earning $426 million worldwide in what was easily the biggest number of the first three flicks. In fact, it earned more at the box office than Bad Boys and Bad Boys 2 combined. A fourth movie seemed like a foregone conclusion after that performance. And critics were on board as well with the 77% Rotten Tomatoes score the highest of the bunch as well. 

But last Sunday, things shifted in a big way for Will Smith and his career. After a joke by Chris Rock aimed at Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith’s wife, the latter went up on stage and slapped the comedian before returning to his seat and yelling back at the stage. It was a confusing moment for sure and at the time was tough for audiences to make out exactly what had happened, or even if it was real. It was. Will Smith went on to win the Best Actor Award for his role in King Richard and he eventually apologized publicly to the Academy and to Chris Rock. On Saturday Will Smith also resigned from the Academy altogether. 

In addition to Bad Boys 4, Will Smith has a number of other films in pre-production whose status isn’t known at this point. That would be The Council which he was set to star in as Nicky Barnes. And there’s also Fast and Loose as well as Bright 2 for Netflix. While it’s unlikely that Will Smith is, in any way, fully canceled from Hollywood or anything like that, there could be some extended timelines on these productions if the studio wants to distance a bit from the incident.